JASA, an organization serving the elderly in New York City, said its staff rushed to get vaccinated this week after a total surge from the agency. Of its 660 home health aides, some 94 percent are now vaccinated, up from 20 percent who submitted proof in August, said Kathryn Haslanger, director of the organization. Five people resigned during the term.
This week’s vaccination deadline, set in an August 26 emergency regulation by the Department of Health, covers certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, hospices and adult care facilities.
The State of Vaccine Mandates in the United States
- Vaccination rules. On August 23, the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 years of age and older, paving the way for mandates in the public and private sectors. Such warrants are authorized by law and have been confirmed in court challenges.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all of them are in states that voted for President Biden.
- Schools. California has become the first state to issue a vaccination warrant for all educators and to announce its intention to add the Covid-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, which could begin as early as next fall. Los Angeles already has a vaccination mandate for public school students ages 12 and older that begins Nov. 21. New York City’s mandate for teachers and staff, which went into effect Oct. 4 after delays due to legal challenges, appears to have sparked thousands of minutes of gunfire.
- Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and large healthcare systems require their employees to be vaccinated. Mandates for healthcare workers in California and New York state appear to have forced thousands of holdouts to receive injections.
- Indoor activities. New York City requires workers and customers to show proof of at least one dose of Covid-19 for indoor meals, gyms, entertainment and shows. Starting November 4, Los Angeles will require most people to provide full proof of vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, cinemas, and lounges, in one of the strictest vaccination rules in the country.
- At the federal level. September 9 President Biden has announced a vaccination mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. This mandate will apply to employees of the executive, including the White House and all federal agencies and members of the armed forces.
- and tthe private sector. Mr Biden demanded that all businesses with more than 100 employees require weekly vaccination or testing, helping to propel new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, had mandates in place before Mr. Biden’s announcement.
As with the hospital mandate, limited medical exemptions are allowed. The regulations do not allow religious exemptions, but workers whose employers have approved their religious exemptions may be allowed to work for now while the matter is challenged in court.
The hundreds of thousands of home health care workers in the state have been largely out of the spotlight during the pandemic, despite the work they have done to care for high-risk patients. Home health workers were not initially included in New York’s highest priority category for immunization, for example, although after lobbying efforts they were added.
Most home health aides – the bulk of the home health workforce – earn close to the state’s minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. The home health care system, largely funded by Medicare and Medicaid, also relies on a smaller number of nurses, who help oversee the care of homebound patients. The agencies also employ therapists and social workers.
Already facing an industry-wide staff shortage, agencies have started implementing contingency staffing plans, which include limiting new admissions, requesting family members of beneficiaries to home care take a greater part of the burden and allow overtime. The Visiting Nurses Department asks to have until the end of the year to comply with the mandate.
Assembly member Richard Gottfried, who chairs the health committee, said in an interview that “a short delay may well make sense” given the current workforce crisis in home care. He also suggested that the state use federal money to offer improved wages and overtime incentives to help hire and retain home helpers.